VIF Neighbourhood News Digest - 26 Feb 2018
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PAKISTAN
Pakistan may find itself on FATF blacklist after June: Dawn
26 Feb, 2018

Pakistan may find itself on the blacklist of a global financial watchdog if it does not prepare a comprehensive action plan to eradicate terrorist financing by June, official sources told Dawn. The 37-nation Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held its plenary meeting in Paris last week where it placed Pakistan on a watchlist of the countries where terrorist outfits are still allowed to raise funds. On Friday, the group issued an updated grey list, along with a statement announcing the decisions taken at the plenary session, and Pakistan was not on the list. Officials in Islamabad interpreted this as a “breather”, although it’s more of a technical detail. The grey list identifies the “jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism deficiencies for which they have developed an action plan with the FATF”. Pakistan has not yet worked out the proposed plan with the FATF and that’s why it’s not on the list. Click here to read...

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa industries jeopardized by plunge in Pak-Afghan trade: Geo News
25 Feb, 2018

The industries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa benefitted the most with flourishing trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but plummeting graph of the activity has now jeopardised the production units in the province causing many of them to even shut down. "The downward trend in exports to Afghanistan [from Peshawar] shows that within two years it will completely end," KP Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Zahidullah Shinwari said while talking to Geo.tv. According to Shinwari, who also owns industries in Peshawar, there are many factors responsible for the decline in exports to Afghanistan, ranging between infrastructural to policy issues. “Political relations play a vital role in trade activities, the tense relation with Afghanistan resulted into a direct negative impact on bilateral trade,” he said. “Pakistan’s border management, imposition of regulatory duties on 731 items, passport restrictions, infrastructural issues, Federal Bureau of Revenue list of documentation and complication in transit trade has a role in the decline of trade with Afghanistan." Click here to read...

AFGHANISTAN
Opposition Threatens Action If Election System Is Not Changed: Tolo News
25 Feb, 2018

Politicians from some of Afghanistan’s mainstream political parties and civic movements on Sunday vowed to pursue a campaign of protests and civic action over election reforms if government fails to take their recommendations into consideration. “If they (government) do not hear the voice of the people through the political parties, then I assure you that these voices will come out of these halls and conferences,” said Babur Farahmand, a member of The National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan. “There is a need that the president issues an order to change the election law,” said Sayed Eshaq Gailani, chairman of Nahzat-e-Hambastagi Mardom-e-Afghanistan party. In response, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has assured the public that it will consider amendments to the election system if it receives orders from the national assembly and the Presidential Palace. Click here to read...

NEPAL
Nepali Congress president Deuba responsible for election debacle: Poudel: Kathmandu Post
26 Feb, 2018

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba has been forced to defend his leadership and his position in the party of late, with many party leaders holding him responsible for the electoral debacle in recent general elections. Senior party leader Ram Chandra Poudel read out a four-page-long letter during the party’s Central Working Committee meeting on Sunday, criticising Deuba for failing the NC in the elections. Accusing Deuba of becoming the leader of one faction rather than the entire party, Poudel claimed that the partisan attitude adopted by the party president made him a failure as a prime minister as well as the party leader. Poudel accused Deuba of weakening the party organisation by weakening the morale of the cadres. The senior NC leader asked Deuba to convene the 14th general convention of the party through the Mahasamiti meeting to decide the party’s future. Click here to read...

MYANMAR
Tokyo’s Rakhine aid emphasises "humanitarian-development nexus": Myanmar Times
26 Feb, 2018

TOKYO is funding two projects involving about US$20.6 million (2.2 billion Yen) in humanitarian assistance to address the crisis in Rakhine. Japan is urged to appeal to Myanmar to respect human rights in the restive Rakhine State. Japan’s ambassador Tateshi Higuchi and five international non-government organizations inked the Exchange of Notes in the capital on February 22 to implement the two grant assistance projects to help resolve the Rakhine crisis. The press release from Japan’s embassy in Yangon said that the two projects will “improve humanitarian and development situation in Rakhine State with the approach of the humanitarian-development nexus, which is strongly advocated by the government of Japan.” It added that UN-Women is expected to sign the Exchange Note in the near future. Click here to read...

SRILANKA
Sri Lanka Cabinet Reshuffled After Poll Defeat: Bloomberg
25 Feb, 2018

President Maithripala Sirisena reshuffled the cabinet in Sri Lanka for the second time since forming a unity government in 2015 after its two main coalition partners were defeated in local government elections. Sirisena announced changes to six cabinet ministers, three state ministers and one deputy minister on Sunday, according to a statement from the president’s office. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe added the portfolio of law and order to his responsibilities. Click here to read...

CHINA
China will scrap limit on presidential terms, meaning Xi Jinping can stay on: South China Morning Post
26 Feb, 2018

China will remove the constitutional restriction on the maximum number of terms the president and vice-president can serve, Xinhua reported on Sunday, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay on beyond 2023. Click here to read...

National rejuvenation relies on Constitution, Xi explains: China Daily
26 Feb, 2018

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, stressed the important role of the Constitution in fulfilling the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. "No organization or individual has the power to overstep the Constitution or the law," Xi said on Saturday as he presided over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Click here to read...

Proposed constitutional amendment package unveiled: People’s Daily
26 Feb, 2018

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee made public its proposal on amendments to China's Constitution Sunday. The proposal, raised to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), was made in accordance with the new situation and practice of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. Click here to read...

PLA advanced stealth fighter transforms air force capability: report: People’s Daily
26 Feb, 2018

China's air force has marked a great upgrade in its ability to confront threats and even respond first, aviation experts said, as the country's latest stealth jet fighter, the J-20, has joined combat regiments of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).With the US frequently sending stealth fighters near China, and Japan, South Korea and India importing and developing such jets, China's air force has urgently needed to improve its capability of confronting the stealth threat, Wang Mingzhi, a professor with the PLA Air Force Command Academy, People's Daily reported on Sunday. Click here to read...

Xi's special envoy meets Chinese media representatives in PyeongChang: Xinhuanet
25 Feb, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy Liu Yandong met with Chinese media representatives in the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games here on Sunday. Liu, Chinese Vice Premier, visited China Central Television's office and studio at the IBC, was briefed on Chinese media reporting of the Winter Olympics and exchanged views with media representatives, before she attended the Olympic closing ceremony. Click here to read...

Anbang takeover puts China's companies on notice: Reuters
25 Feb, 2018

When the Chinese government on Friday took control of Anbang Insurance Group Co Ltd, owner of New York’s iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it cited provisions in the country’s insurance law designed to head off financial calamity. The maneuver was sudden but not altogether surprising, as the once aggressively acquisitive conglomerate had been under tightening government scrutiny for months, with its insurance revenue stream curtailed, regulatory teams supervising its operations since June and its chairman in police custody. Click here to read...

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